News / Africa

    Egyptian Protesters Plan 'Second Revolution' Rally

    A woman carries a child during a demonstration in Tahrir Square in Cairo May 20, 2011
    A woman carries a child during a demonstration in Tahrir Square in Cairo May 20, 2011

    Egyptian protesters plan to return to the streets Friday for what they're billing as a "Second Revolution." The activists fear the long-term change and lasting reform they've been seeking is being sidetracked.

    Using the tools of their January 25 uprising, Egyptian youth are calling on Facebook and Twitter for a massive turnout in Cairo's Tahrir Square and elsewhere across the country after noon prayers Friday.

    Motivation

    Ahmed Salah, a long time activist and organizer of the earlier revolt, says the current leadership of the Supreme Military Council, which took power after President Hosni Mubarak left office, has not made a clean break with the past.

    "There has been a lot of regression in the current path of the revolution due to constant attempts to diffuse it or sabotage it by probably people in the military council, the staff, or others from, of course, the central state security and from the former NDP and those still in power," Salah said. "And we are just trying to get things back to their original path."

    Frustration has been simmering for weeks, and boiled over during a "National Dialogue Conference" Monday. Youth activists walked out of the government-called meeting, furious over the participation of what they said was too many members of the old elite, including officials from the former ruling National Democratic Party.

    Social media warning

    Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, head of Egypt's ruling military council in Cairo (File)
    Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, head of Egypt's ruling military council in Cairo (File)

    The military council, turning to social media as well, says it welcomes the free expression of ideas, but is against Friday's demonstrations.  It warns that elements from abroad will use thugs, posing as patriots, to infiltrate the rallies.

    Their alleged aim is to provoke confrontations to split the people and the army, which the council calls the linchpin of the nation's safety and security.

    While the reference to elements abroad usually means Israel and the United States - the latter still unpopular for its closeness to the Mubarak government - some Egyptians are also believed to be among those being accused.

    Loyalties

    Former police colonel turned activist Omar Afifi, in exile in the U.S, says he has no animosity toward defacto Egyptian leader Field Marshall Mohamed Tantawi, but is concerned about his loyalties.

    The policeman notes that Tantawi spent 20 years as defense minister in the old government and profited handsomely. The revolution, he argues, is against the Field Marchall's personal interests.

    Afifi, who gained popularity among activists with his book on evading police brutality "So You Don't Want to Get Beaten on the Back of the Neck" was one of the early organizers of the January 25 revolt. He sees in the months since then what he believes is a time-honored manipulation of the public.

    He says leaders are putting pressure on people in terms of difficulty in making a living, shortages in diesel fuel and lax security leading to increased crime. The old government, he argues, is still in session.

    Moving forward


    Activist Saleh outlines the steps he thinks are needed to move forward.

    "We would like to have a civilian presidential council to replace the Supreme Armed Forces and to have a new constitution to ensure the rights of everyone, to ensure the free and fair elections when the time comes, to make sure that they're going to be just trials for everyone that had been involved, the corruption and to bring back all out looted assets," said Salah.

    The military council has already overseen a referendum on changes to the constitution, and is planning for parliamentary elections in the coming months.  Most political observers believe the military has no interest in the responsibility of running of the country and would be content to return to its powerful behind-the-scenes role.

    But activists, most of whom rejected the constitutional changes wanting a completely new document instead, fear the council would be happy if the old guard still had a prominent role. Even the military's concessions to popular demands are viewed with suspicion.

    This week's announcements that it will open the border to Gaza and that Mubarak and his sons will face trial are called "tranquilizers" by former Colonel Afifi.

    Afifi says what is needed is medicine, a curing remedy for the nation's underlying problems. He says until the goals of the uprising are met, activists are ready to go back to Tahrir Square a hundred times over.

    Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
    and discuss them on our Facebook page.

    You May Like

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady to Visit Africa to Promote Girls' Education

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora